The research will analyse large data sets to provide new insights about the pandemic
"The ability to link large scale health datasets across the four nations is crucial and has enabled vital insights into COVID-19 since the National Core Studies were established. This programme will take the use of this data to the next level as we continue to improve our understanding of this virus.” Sir Patrick Vallance, government's chief scientific adviser
Nine studies have been awarded a total of £2m by the Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) and The Alan Turing Institute to analyse data relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The research, which will be carried out by 16 universities across the four countries of the UK, will look at questions such as:
The projects will use advanced analytics, modelling, statistical and machine learning techniques, using the data infrastructure that has been developed for research into COVID-19. They will begin this month and be completed by September 2022.
In partnership with the network of Trusted Research Environments (TREs), researchers will be able to access large-scale, national and linked datasets in secure environments. This data will include viral variant and genomic sequencing data, outbreak-relevant data from clinical records and vaccination data, including vaccine status and adverse events.
Each of the projects will create a legacy for future research studies by creating additional data linkages, improving the quality of data, and sharing code and tools to follow best practice in open science. Project teams will involve patients and the public in their work and use the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway to make their resources available for re-use by other researchers.
The research forms part of the Covid-19 Data and Connectivity programme, one of the National Core Studies, co-sponsored by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Government Office for Science.
The government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said: “The ability to link large scale health datasets across the four nations is crucial and has enabled vital insights into COVID-19 since the National Core Studies were established. This programme will take the use of this data to the next level as we continue to improve our understanding of this virus”.
Professor Sir Adrian Smith, director and chief executive of the Alan Turing Institute said that bringing together health data science, artificial intelligence and large scale datasets would “enable cutting-edge analysis with the potential to deliver insights crucial to our understanding of the current, and future pandemics.”